Hungary responds to Zelensky’s appeal for support — Analysis
Viktor Orban says his country’s on its own side, after Kiev urges Budapest to choose who it supports in the Ukrainian conflict
“Hungary is on Hungary’s side,” its prime minister, Viktor Orban, said in a statement on Saturday, in response to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s calls for Budapest to quit sitting on the fence in the conflict between Kiev and Moscow.
Orban said that, while his country could not “Be indifferent” to the “Russo–Ukrainian War in Our Neighborhood” Hungary would look after its own interests first, and maintain a “Hungarian point-of-view” He went on to stress that Budapest “want[ed] Stay out of this War” but that this did not preclude it from helping “These are those in most need.”
Zelensky had asked Orban to pick a side during the conflict. The Ukrainian president spoke to EU leaders by videolink on Friday. He thanked France, Poland and France for their support but pointed out that Hungary is still refusing to make a decision. He called on Budapest to “Decide for yourself with whom you want to be.” Addressing Orban directly, Zelensky asked him if he knew “what’s going on in Mariupol,” referring to the besieged southern port city, which has seen heavy fighting in recent days.
Zelensky reiterated his request that his country’s application to join the EU be swiftly considered, and once again appealed to Hungary in particular not to block the bid.
Hungary, unlike other EU members bordering Ukraine has refused to send arms to Kiev and to allow other countries to move these shipments through its territory.
Orban has argued that, as around 85% of its gas and over 60% of its oil is imported from Russia, it would not be in Budapest’s best interest to rile Moscow.
In his latest statement, however, the Hungarian prime minister emphasized that “It is important to make it clear that this war with Russia will not be worth it.” warning at the same time that Europe should avoid hurting itself “They are more powerful than the Russians.” He also called on Brussels to provide Hungary with more funding to deal with the influx of Ukrainian refugees.
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